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Retiring Airdrie RCMP officer enjoys brotherly ride-along for final shift

Since they never got to work together throughout their respective policing careers, Derrick organized a surprise ride-along on Tuesday night, allowing he and Jeff to spend at least one shift working together thanks to the help of their departments.

After almost three decades of service to the field of policing, Sgt. Jeff Campbell is retiring from the Airdrie RCMP detachment. 

But little did he know, his brother had been secretly planning a surprise for his final shift, behind the scenes. 

Campbell had an interest in policing from a young age, even remembering that he wrote back in second grade that he wanted to become a Mountie one day.

“Our teacher asked us to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I wrote down a Mountie, and it kind of always stuck with me,” Campbell said.

Throughout the years, Campbell’s interest in law enforcement continued to grow as he played hockey in Okotoks, where all his coaches were RCMP officers.

Eager to get started in his career early, Campbell applied for both the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and the RCMP when he was only 18. But unfortunately, he was told he was too young. Trying to get the experience needed, he joined the Military Reserve with the Calgary Highlanders.

In 1994, Campbell, who has a Métis background, was accepted into the RCMP's Aboriginal Cadet Development Program. He completed his training two years later in September 1996, and began his first posting in Prince George, B.C.

Despite his enthusiasm to get experience, Campbell missed being at home and decided to join the CPS with his older brother Derrick.

However, despite both brothers being police officers, they worked in different districts.

“Unfortunately, Derrick and I never were able to work in the same district together when I was with the Calgary Police Service,” Campbell said, adding he later rejoined the RCMP.

Campbell enjoyed various opportunities throughout his years with the RCMP, such as bringing back the Ski Patrol Program at Lake Louise Ski Resort and being part of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).

He also worked in Westlock, Cochrane, and other RCMP jurisdictions throughout the province.

“I've been to a lot of different places and I had the opportunity to have great managers, that gave me the opportunity to do a lot of different things,” Campbell said.

Surprise ride-along

As Campbell prepared to withdraw from his duties with the RCMP after more than a quarter-century of policing, his brother Derrick wanted to do something special for Campbell’s final shift, which took place on May 9.

Since they never got to work together throughout their respective careers, Derrick organized a surprise ride-along on Tuesday night, allowing the brothers to spend at least one shift working together thanks to the help of their departments.

“They kept it a very good secret. I was really shocked and surprised and it was awesome. I'm really thankful that management was very positive about allowing Derrick to come out and ride with me for my last shift,” Campbell said. “I got choked up a little bit.”

Derrick, Campbell's brother and still a police officer with the CPS, acknowledged the importance of having someone to share work stories with, especially in a challenging career like law enforcement.

“I'm proud of the time he's put in here,” he said. “It was good to be able to call him up and swap stories about the jobs that we do, because sometimes it's a pretty tough job. So to be able to have those conversations with somebody else that kind of knows the work was always good to have."

Campbell's retirement from the RCMP concludes a remarkable and lengthy career in law enforcement. He expressed gratitude for the lasting relationships he's built while serving the community.

“I've had an opportunity to work for and with people in a variety of different areas. I have worked and got to know people across Canada like I have true mates that are from Vancouver to Ottawa, and the Maritimes,” Campbell said.

For Campbell, retirement from the RCMP may mark the end of one journey, but it is the beginning of another.

“I've actually been hired on with the Alberta government as a Government of Alberta investigator,” Campbell said.

While Sgt. Campbell's retirement marks the end of a distinguished career that spanned almost three decades, he is happy to have formed lifelong friendships and the feeling of making a significant impact in his community.

As he embarks on a new role with the Alberta government, he leaves behind a legacy of dedication and service that will be remembered by those privileged to work alongside him – especially his brother.

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